Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly tutorial from the Drawing Factory,  this time you will learn how to draw Darth Vader from the Star Wars Universe created by George Lucas.

Darth Vader (born Anakin Skywalker) is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. He appears in the original trilogy as a pivotal figure, as well as in the prequel trilogy as a central figure. Originally a Jedi prophesied to bring balance to the Force, he falls to the dark side of the Force and serves the evil Galactic Empire at the right hand of his Sith master, Palpatine.

For this tutorial, I used the drawing software SketchBook Pro and a drawing tablet.

If you are looking for a guide to buy a graphic tablet you can check out my top 10 favourite drawing tablets. Also if you want to try out SketchBook Pro, you can Download Free Autodesk Software Trials Now!

You can watch the full video or follow the written tutorial step by step, it’s up to you.

This is the image I used as a reference for this drawing, on top of it you can see how I drew my SmartGrid that I use as a reference to then draw the character with precision.

I have talked in more detail about this technique and I am not going to expand on it here but feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

How to draw Darth Vader: sketch

I’ll start by saying that this is going to be an advanced tutorial, particularly with the colouring of the drawing. However, do not be taken aback by the apparent difficulty. The drawing part is really not that difficult and the colouring really needs a bit of patience, so buckle up!

Using the grid as a reference, start by drawing the helmet of Darth Vader as you see in the image here. Try to be precise here as all the shapes and lines forming the helmet of Darth Vader need to be positioned correctly to obtain a nice final result.

So try to draw with an eye for symmetry here and where possible use a ruler to draw straight lines.

The next step is to draw the shape of the face of the helmet of Darth Vader, so to speak.

As you can see it has a geometrical shape that you should be able to reproduce easily. Also, position the triangular shape that forms the upper part of the breather on the mask.

Now draw the eyes or lenses of the mask. Again try to be symmetrical and make sure to draw them correctly, the final result will depend on the way you have positioned all these parts.

Ok, now there is quite a step but nothing to be too afraid of. Use the grid if you have drawn it or just follow along using my drawing as a reference.

At this stage, we need to sketch the major planes of the mask. It’s really not easy to explain just look at the drawing and try to follow it as closely as possible.

The previous step was really the most difficult one in the drawing section of this tutorial. Once you have established the planes of the mask you just need to draw the protective grid situated in the breather and two lines under the lenses.

Also draw a few lines on the helmet itself, these are going to be useful at the colouring stage to draw the light reflections on the helmet.

And that’s it really there aren’t that many lines or details forming the helmet and mask of Darth Vader seen from the front. In this last step, you just need to refine things a little. Clean the drawing from extra lines and refine it where you can.

I have added the neck and shoulder of Darth Vader as well cause I did not want to draw a floating head!

The most important details at this stage are the notches on the curvature of the nose of the mask and the triangular shape below the mouth breather which we’ll fill with an additional grid at the colouring stage.

How to draw Darth Vader: colouring

Alright, if you have followed so far you should be all set for colouring your drawing. I won’t lie to you, this tutorial has given me a lot of grief as there are so many difficult aspects to it.

To start with, the base colour is, well, black or dark blue as you can see in the image here, which makes things more difficult to see. Also, the surface of the helmet and mask is reflective which makes the rendering more difficult.

I have tried to break it down though into very small chunks so, believe in yourself, and let’s get started!

Firstly, apply a flat, base colour to the drawing. I have used a light blue for the mouth grid and a dark blue for everything else.

Why not black you may ask? Well In the real world black is never black, there is always a shade of colour or a tint to it so in this case I decided to use dark blue as a base to tint the whole drawing with it.

Because I was going crazy working with these dark colours on top of my sketch lines which were black as well I changed the colour of the sketch lines so you and you could see better what is going on.

I will focus on the mask first and I’ll explain things in more detail for the mask however the same principles will apply when we get to colouring the actual helmet of Darth Vader.

The first thing to do is to disregard the various planes at this stage and treat the whole mask, neck and shoulder as a single solid object. So what I did was apply with an airbrush tool a soft shadow to all the surfaces that are in shadows or that cast shadows onto each other.

I have left a little light on the lenses and the middle portion of the mask. I haven’t applied any shadowing for the grid at this stage.

Alright, deep shadows are laid on the face and neck of the mask so we are lighting things up a bit on the neck, see from the two sides of the neck? This moves us one step closer to the end and also helps separate visually the neck area from the chin and head area.

Also, paint the ‘nose’ of the mask and the chrome tips at the side of the mouth breather.

This stage involves adding a subtle highlight on certain areas of the mask. You can probably see I have added subtle highlights on the nose, the upper line of the eyes, the separation lines between the panels and planes of the mask and on the notches on the nose as well.

All this to pinpoint where light is hitting the mask and to start bringing those forms out of the blackness of the mask.

Continuing here adding highlights and detail to the mask of Darth Vader at this stage. As you can see here I have been adding more highlights all around the mask, particularly on edges and points where the light is going to hit the mask harder.

Here I have also decided to add a dropped shadow from the muzzle of the breather onto the breather grid. Can you see how this simple act made the grid look tridimensional and made that portion of the mask look more realistic?

We are almost done with the face of the mask can you believe it? Now it’s just a matter of adding even stronger highlights on areas of the mask, always edges and points, which are reflecting light. For this highlight however, use pure white. Can you see the highlights on the nose and the grid on the mouth?

At this stage, I have also drawn the tiny grid underneath the main grid on the mouth breather and on the neck.

Now that the face of the mask has been taken care of it’s time to move on to the helmet. As I anticipated before the same principles apply in colouring the helmet. We’ll start by laying deeper shadows all over the helmet first and subsequently adding lights using a technique that combines the use of a selecting tool and an airbrush set to a very low opacity.

Did you notice that the highlights on the helmet have hard edges? That’s because I selected that area using a selection tool and filled them using an airbrush and adding layer over layer building up lights slowly.

Now it’s time to add the hard reflections or spot reflections on the helmet. To achieve these use white or almost white colour and apply using an airbrush set to low opacity

Time to add the final touches and finish the drawing. I have added a big spot highlight in the middle of the helmet, I drew the plates covering the upper part of Darth Vader torso and overall refined the helmet by adding further highlights on the sides of the helmet.

From this point all you could really spend a long time refining further the drawing, adding highlights and making it look as awesome as you want but I’ll finish it here as I am satisfied by the way it turned out.

And there you have it! The final drawing of Darth Vader created with a complex yet detailed step-by-step tutorial, I really hope it helped you learn how to draw Darth Vader!

I hope you liked this tutorial, and if you guys want me to make more of them please let me know in the comment section below or using this form. It’s really important for me to understand what you guys would like me to make so if you could spare the time that would be absolutely fantastic.

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This week is all from me and I’ll catch you all drawing next week with a new tutorial!


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